ON THE WATERFRONT WITH DAVID G. SELLARS: Port Angeles-built boat to go to Panama
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Allen Ruble and Barbara Settle arrive at home on the North Olympic Peninsula as the ms Statendam — which took them on a South Seas adventure — docked in Port Angeles on May 17. — Photo by David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The Island Express III is placed in the water for sea trials. She eventually will serve as a ferry in Panama.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The Westwood Columbia moored to Terminal 1 North after she lost power in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and was brought to Port Angeles for repairs.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Another Coast Guard motor lifeboat, in for maintenance and a paint job at Platypus Marine in Port Angeles.

By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist

Island Express III was launched in Port Angeles last week.

She is a 72-foot-long, 92-passenger ferry that was built to U.S. Coast Guard standards by Joe Kitchell and two tradesmen in the large green building that sits on the south side of Marine Drive and west of High Tide Seafoods Inc.

The Express will be used to provide service between Panama City and Las Perlas Islands off Panama's Pacific coast, a 46-mile run.

The composite catamaran is powered by two Iveco diesel engines, each of which is coupled to a jet drive.

The vessel is now undergoing sea trials, and I understand that delivery to Panama is tentatively planned for June or July.

Island-hopping home

When the Holland America cruise ship ms Statendam visited Port Angeles on May 17, a handful of locals disembarked.

Among them was Allen Ruble and his traveling companion, Barbara Settle, who flew to San Diego, where they boarded the ship for a delightfully long cruise back to the North Olympic Peninsula.

After five days at sea, their first port of call was Hilo, Hawaii. Then it was on to Honolulu followed by Lahaina on the island of Maui and Kona on the Big Island.

Allen said they then headed south and stopped at Fanning Island in Kiribati, which he describes as a long low atoll with no electricity or sewage system but populated by friendly people engaged in the coconut business.

Allen noted that many are excellent craftsmen.

The Statendam headed south, crossing the international date line and equator and arriving in Bora Bora in French Polynesia on April 30.

The ship then visited Raiatea, Papeete, Tahiti, Moorea and Rangiroa. Allen commented that he had worked in Tahiti years ago and was astounded by how much Papeete had grown.

The last port of call, he related, was Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands.

The vessel had already crossed the international date line for a second time, and it was at this locale where the ship also crossed the equator as she sailed back to San Diego.

Many of the passengers disembarked in San Diego despite the fact that Vancouver, B.C., was the ultimate destination port — via Port Angeles.

Allen said the cruise was a wonderful experience but that he was glad to be home.

A little historical anecdote: Allen and I share a somewhat common upbringing.

We both spent the bulk of our youth in Pacific Grove, Calif. In fact, he went to school with my mother and her siblings.

Coast Guard haul-out

Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, hauled out another 47-foot motorized lifeboat from the Coast Guard's Motor Lifeboat Station Quillayute River in LaPush.

While the boat is out of service, she will have a number of maintenance items attended to, including the replacement of all her hydraulic hoses.

The boat also will be sandblasted and receive a fresh coat of paint.

Emergency fix-it

The Port Angeles waterfront awakened Tuesday morning to the Bahamian-flagged Westwood Columbia moored to the Port of Port Angeles' Terminal 1 North.

The 653-foot-long general cargo ship with self-loading capabilities lost power at about noon Monday in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Neah Bay while underway to Asia with a load of lumber.

Jeffrey Foss, the 112-foot rescue tug that is positioned in Neah Bay, went to the vessel's aid and brought her to Port Angeles.

Vigor Industrial worked with the ship's engine room personnel to make the necessary repairs, the Coast Guard inspected and gave her the green light, and Westwood Columbia left Port Angeles around suppertime Wednesday for Longview on the Columbia River.

Mark your calendar

The Port Angeles Yacht Club will hold its eighth annual Marine Swap Meet and Indoor Yard Sale on Saturday, June 14, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As in the past, it'll be held in the yacht club's parking lot at 1305 Marine Drive at the west end of Port Angeles Boat Haven.

This is always a well-attended event because it's a terrific opportunity to find or sell marine-related equipment.

The Yacht Club Ladies will be offering some household treasures inside the club building at the indoor yard sale.

The North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron will perform boat safety inspections upon request for anyone who trailers a boat to the event.

Compliant vessels will receive a 2014 safety decal.

Seller spaces for the swap meet are $10, but no seller spaces are available for the indoor sale.

For additional information or to reserve an outdoor space, contact Randy Volker, Port Angeles Yacht Club commodore, at 619-884-4599 or at swapmeet@payc.org.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain's mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area's waterfronts.

Items and questions involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. Email dgsellars@hotmail.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.

His column, On the Waterfront, appears every Sunday.

Last modified: May 24. 2014 6:34PM
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